The latest trend in men’s cologne is downright revolutionary… literally. Thanks to the teamwork of a Cuban company and a French perfumer, consumers around the world will soon be able to purchase Che Guevara and Hugo Chavez-scented colognes, the AP reported this week.
If you’re wondering what guerrilla leader-themed perfumes smell like, you might be surprised to find that the revolutionaries smell much more pleasant in bottled form than they allegedly did in real life. Though the living Che Guevara reportedly earned the nickname “El Chancho” or “The Pig” from his distaste for baths and clean clothes, the "Ernesto" fragrance that honors him will exude a fragrant blend of citrus and woodsy scents with a touch of talcum powder. Sounds more like a fall morning in Maine than a day with the Argentinian guerrilla fighter.
Meanwhile, “Hugo”, honoring the late Venezuelan president, promises to be a lighter scent, with hints of tropical fruits like mango and papaya.
This project seems like strange territory for Labiofam, Cuba’s biggest producer of natural products like homeopathic medicines, dietary supplements, and cleaning supplies. That is, until you realize that Labiofam’s director is Fidel Castro's nephew. What better way to honor the man who helped your aunt and uncle overthrow Cuban president Batista than through essentially a Pine Sol-scented fragrance?
Labiofam spent 18 months developing the two colognes with French perfumer Robertet, and the companies plan to unveil the two new fragrances at a Havana launch event next week. The project was led by Cuban biochemist Mario Valdes who said the fragrances are indeed meant to pay homage to the Latin American revolutionaries.
It seems ironic to design a commercial product with global, capitalist aspirations as a way to pay homage to two anti-consumerist revolutionaries’ legacies — but apparently the Guevara and Chavez families are on board with the plan to attach their revolutionary relatives’ names to yet another marketable product.
Though Labiofam convention visitors might have had largely positive responses to “Ernesto” and “Hugo,” not everyone is so eager to have products honoring two men who caused so many deaths. The announcement of the two fragrances’ imminent debuts have horrified some people.